In our opinion, Eriogonums – also known as Buckwheats – deserve a place in pretty much every sunny garden in the Rogue Valley! Eriogonums are one of those plants that check all of our boxes here at Shooting Star. Drought tolerant? Check. Good pollinator plant? Check. Native plant? Check. Really, really pretty? Check. We are frankly amazed that we haven’t featured it as a plant of the week before this!
In general, Eriogonums prefer full sun and well-drained soils. They’re a perfect plant for that hot spot in your yard that gets blasted by afternoon sun. Despite their toughness and resilience, they are covered with showy displays of delicately beautiful-looking flowers from mid-summer into early fall. They look great in a mixed planting combined with other sun-loving, drought-tolerant plants like Salvias, Agastache, Zauschneria, and Monardella, and Ceanothus.
They’re also one of the best pollinator plants around; providing larval food for butterflies and moths, and abundant nectar for a truly dazzling variety of pollinators: tiny native bees, bumblebees, honeybees, butterflies, and beetles. Seriously - one of my favorite things to do with Eriogonums in the garden is just sit next to one on a sunny day and watch who comes to visit!
We regularly carry the following varieties:
Eriogonum compositum (Arrowleaf buckwheat): To 2’ tall by 1’ wide. Soft grayish-green, arrow-shaped leaves. Flowers – which are borne in clusters up to 3” across - are white, tinged with a soft pink, and fading to a rusty red. E. compositum is somewhat more tolerant of heavy soils than E. umbellatum – although it would still prefer well drained soil. As an extra bonus, f you leave the seed heads on the plants in the fall, you will be extremely popular with seed-eating birds like goldfinches!
Eriogonum umbellatum (Sulphur-flower buckwheat): As the name suggests, these plants feature bright, sulphur-yellow flowers. Their leaves are a darker green than E. compositum, and more rounded. Plant size can be variable: they get between 6-12” tall by 1-3’ wide.
Kannah Creek: A cultivar of E. umbellatum, slightly more compact and consistent in size and shape. Kannah Creek gets about 12-15” tall by 15-24” wide. As an extra bonus, they provide outstanding fall color, with foliage turning a bright burgundy color as cold weather moves in.